What is an Analytical Essay? 5 Easy Steps to Write it

Analytical Essay Featured Image

Analytical essay!

Are you wondering what it is and how does it vary from other types of essays? 

Essay assignments are common in student life. However, most of the students will not have an idea about essay writing or essay types. 

Since essays are an inevitable part of student life, it is good to know about them and how to write them. Like argumentative and narrative essays, even analytical essays have their characteristics. It is vital to know these characteristics to compose an analytical essay. 

In this article, we will break down the process of writing an analytical essay. We’ll provide an analytical essay outline that summarizes the essential elements your essay must include. And also, we’ll help you structure your writing with analytical essay examples to write one on your own.

What is an analytical essay?

An analytical essay is a written piece of substantial analysis of a topic. The analysis can be about art, music, literary works, current events, historical events, politics, scientific research, and philosophy, among other topics. 

However, you must remember that an analytical essay requires you to go beyond surface-level analysis. 

And also consider the essential arguments/points of the subject and why they are crucial.

What is the purpose of writing analytical essays?

Analyzing the given topic remains the primary purpose of writing analytical essays. Unlike persuasive writing, the writer does not persuade the reader to support their stand. Instead, the goal is to have enough analysis and examples to support the arguments presented in the paper.

Consider an example – if you are writing an analytical essay about a book. It would be best to analyze how the author has presented the article. And why the author chose to write it in that way. It would be best if you delved into the themes of the writing. Also, explore the arguments presented in the article, how it’s supported, what literary devices were used to get messages across.

Difference between an analytical essay, descriptive essay, and persuasive essay

What differentiates the descriptive essay from an analytical essay is – the writer’s point of view. An analytical essay presents the writer’s arguments supported by facts and evidence. In comparison, descriptive essays are summaries. They are descriptive or informational write-up that does not include opinion or analysis.

A persuasive essay, on the other hand, uses logical arguments to convince readers to agree with the writer. 

Types of Analytical Essay

There are 5 basic types of analytical essays. Each type has its characteristics and writing style. One must follow the required style to write and reach a particular goal. 

  1. Cause and effect essay: This type of analytical essay is also called ‘Reason and result essay.’ In this type of essay, the aim is to determine how an event or object affects various areas of our lives. 
  1. Comparison and contrast essay: In this type of essay, you examine two objects or subjects. You do it either by comparing or contrasting them or carrying out both. The aim is to bring out subtle differences or similarities that are not expected between the two.
  1. Classification essay: This is a typical academic essay used to carry out classifications. The divisions may be among ideas, objects, etc., based on similarities into specific categories.
  1. Process essay: This type of essay provides information to the readers; it offers guidance or directions. Some common examples of this type of analytical essay are – technical brochures, user manuals, recipes, etc.
  1. Definition essay: A definition essay usually defines an idea, a concept, or a term. It gives some specific kind of information about any condition while also explaining that term through instances. This type of essay comprises research and supporting evidence. 

These are the basic types of analytical essays that you must be aware of when writing an essay. The knowledge of each type of essay helps you decide to choose the essay type you want to write. 

How to structure an analytical essay?

The structure of analytical essays is similar to other types of essays. It comprises the introduction paragraph, body paragraphs, and conclusion paragraph. You can follow the analytical essay outline given below to structure your essay.

Introduction: This section must include – a hook sentence, brief background information explaining the issue, and a thesis statement at the end. The unit must be interesting and informative and give the reader hints on what to expect from the rest of the essay.

Body: The second section of the analytical essay should have at least 3 paragraphs. However, there is no restriction that it must only be 3 paragraphs. Each paragraph will present a distinct point of analysis. Commence each section with a topic sentence that sets the path of the rest of the paragraph. And end with a transitional sentence or phrase.

Also, evidence is provided and discussed in each paragraph. In short, each section in the body comprises – a topic sentence, analysis point, and proof supporting the analysis.

Conclusion: The final section of an essay is the conclusion. No new information will be added here. Instead, you reiterate the thesis statement, summarize the main points, and wrap things up. In short, you paraphrase the thesis statement, summarize your analysis, and end with a concluding sentence.

Now you know the analytical essay format. So let us move forward and guide you through the steps of writing an analytical essay.

5 steps to writing an analytical essay

You may find the task of writing an analytical essay tedious. So we have divided the whole exercise into five manageable steps below:

  1. Pick a topic: Select a topic of your interest in case you are assigned a topic. While selecting a topic, always choose a researchable topic to collect enough information to write about. An issue that is too broad or narrow is challenging to research. So, make sure you pick a topic that allows you to analyze the theme, 
  1. Write a thesis statement: The next step after finalizing a topic is to create a thesis statement based on it. You may wonder whether it is necessary to have a thesis statement. However, let us assure you that it is vital to have a thesis statement for your essay. 

Your thesis statement should be such that the reader should understand the entire essay and what you’ll examine by just reading your thesis. 

  1. Research and list key points: Researching crucial points is essential for writing an essay. It is vital to have solid points/arguments that support your thesis statement. Research and collect as many good points and arguments as possible. Find the most potent 3 – 4 points from the overall research. After selecting the arguments, as a good rule of thumb, include one key point in one paragraph each. 
  1. Collect evidence: Start collecting evidence to support your key points and arguments after research. Your supporting evidence may belong to various sources. However, it does not matter. You may use evidence from books, newspapers, surveys, academic journals, research papers, etc. 

Remember that to write a strong essay; you should be able to back up every claim you make with solid evidence.

  1. Combine everything and start writing: Once you have collected enough information and evidence, begin writing your essay. Refer to the analytical essay outline given above to write your first draft. However, your work does not end after writing your essay. You must revise and edit your draft. Polish your content, eliminate errors, check spellings, punctuation, and grammar mistakes.

Once you follow each of these steps, you will have a well-crafted analytical essay that imbibes in-depth analysis and enough evidence to back your claim.

You may also go through analytical essay examples like an essay on the movie ‘Forrest Gump.’ Also, the essays entail interpretation of popular novels like ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ Wuthering Heights,’ etc.

Writing an analytical essay may seem intimidating, but it is not. Thorough research and brainstorming sessions are two fundamental skills to write an impressive analytical essay. It requires a substantial topic, thesis statement, and fact-based evidence to present an article. Also, you must invest time and effort and have the patience to earn the skills to craft a fantastic essay.

Please keep in mind that analytical essays provide you an opportunity to share your insights on a particular body of work – art, literature, movie, or scientific study. Thus, use this chance to engage your readers and make them want to know more about the subject. 

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